Thursday, 4 June 2009

F.M.L < P.T.L

FML. If it doesn't already strike a chord of laughter within you, you probably don't know what it means. The phrase, coined by the liquor store employee in Superbad, means "F my life," as in "oh man, the worst thing happened to me today. FML." Yesterday, among frequent encounters with this cute little phrase I came across one that just so happen to epitomize the point I hope to make in this post:

“I just got a freaking parking ticket for not moving my car last night. F.M.L. I want to dieeeeee.”

Really? I mean, really? You got a parking ticket – at most a $40 dollar fine that doesn’t even end up on your permanent record – and you’re in such utter hopelessness that you want to dieeeeee? Yet this is no anomaly -- this is the very wish that users of this three-letter lament confess, that their life is in such shambles that death actually looks good. I’m puzzled as to how amongst all the cursing of your existence you somehow find the strength to Twitter it to your Facebook. As Marlo puts it, “your life is horrible, but you have access to a computer.” I sincerely hope advocates of people asking for their life to be F'ed don’t also try to advocate having a positive attitude about things, for there’s a grave inconsistency there.

“I went to the vending machine and pressed the Sprite button but it gave me Coke. I don’t like Coke. FML.”

All in good fun, I'm sure, but what happens when a community encourages and laughs at the idea of complaining about the littlest things? Helen writes:

"I think these mediums, amongst other social media, not only glamorize trivialities and complaining, but essentially centralize on the self. So many status updates and FML trivialities are basically telling others to pay attention to you, in the littlest (great & horrible) details. Another mode of distraction in our already distraction-inundated society."

When you exalt the bad, you demean the good. When a parking ticket becomes horrible, the fact that you still have a car becomes less satisfying. For those in Christ, this should be of little desire.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).”

Notice Paul here isn’t making a suggestion – this is a command. Actually, two commands. It may seem harsh and counterproductive to command someone to rejoice, but this is along similar lines like "don't worry, be happy" or "be grateful for what you have." Many times rejoicing comes naturally, but other times it’s something that you have to work for and focus on. Instead of what's been taken away, you have to think: what have I been given?

Note this is no ordinary or general positivity. Christians are (admittedly imperfectly) thankful and content despite the circumstances God has given them because of the grace and love God has given them in Christ and the body of Christ. Make it a goal to praise the Lord for things – PTL!

“I just got a parking ticket, but I still have a job so I can pay it off. PTL!”

“I went to the vending machine and pressed the Sprite button but it gave me Coke. I don’t like Coke, but my sister does so I’ll just give it to her, plus I shouldn’t be drinking soda anyway. PTL!”

“Sometimes my life gets really hard, but I have a Savior who died for this life, so that I can have life beyond this life...and that's something worth living for. PTL!”

Let the PTL movement begin...

7 comments:

missy nicole s. austria said...

love your positivity! :)

Jacquie said...

I'm totally diggin' the title. It's so catchy with all those letters, especially with that inequality sign.

Jenevieve said...

I don't really like the phrase F my life either... I feel like sometimes too, people use it to bring pity on themselves... when really, they should be grateful for the opportunities that they have and the friends that they've made... yay for positivity.

sandy said...

i'm glad that your talking about this coz i hear f.m.l and it bothers me too. great encouragement!

helen said...

praise God for this :)

Kimmiko said...

julian!
what a wonderful blogg entry!
all i can say is... WORD.
btw, it was good seeing you the other day.
how was star trek?
and when can i give u monies =D

Called to be Free said...

What an awesome blog. You really captured it well here. There is a whole spiritual movement out there that "deameans the good by exalting the bad". Very true. And the solution you proposed is exactly right. We have to find the good in everything. This actually happened to me a few days ago. Take a look at my blog that I wrote a few days ago, it goes right along with what you're stating. You are right on! PTL!

http://calledtobefreeus.blogspot.com/2009/07/so-happy-to-be-without-air-conditioning.html